Nina Totenberg

Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

Totenberg's coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition. Newsweek says, "The mainstays [of NPR] are Morning Edition and All Things Considered. But the creme de la creme is Nina Totenberg."

In 1991, her ground-breaking report about University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas led the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearings to consider Hill's charges. NPR received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for its gavel-to-gavel coverage — anchored by Totenberg — of both the original hearings and the inquiry into Anita Hill's allegations, and for Totenberg's reports and exclusive interview with Hill.

That same coverage earned Totenberg additional awards, among them: the Long Island University George Polk Award for excellence in journalism; the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting; the Carr Van Anda Award from the Scripps School of Journalism; and the prestigious Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs/public policy reporting, which also acknowledged her coverage of Justice Thurgood Marshall's retirement.

Totenberg was named Broadcaster of the Year and honored with the 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the National Press Foundation. She is the first radio journalist to receive the award. She is also the recipient of the American Judicature Society's first-ever award honoring a career body of work in the field of journalism and the law. In 1988, Totenberg won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her coverage of Supreme Court nominations. The jurors of the award stated, "Ms. Totenberg broke the story of Judge (Douglas) Ginsburg's use of marijuana, raising issues of changing social values and credibility with careful perspective under deadline pressure."

Totenberg has been honored seven times by the American Bar Association for continued excellence in legal reporting and has received a number of honorary degrees. On a lighter note, in 1992 and 1988 Esquire magazine named her one of the "Women We Love".

A frequent contributor to major newspapers and periodicals, she has published articles in The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Parade Magazine, New York Magazine, and others.

Before joining NPR in 1975, Totenberg served as Washington editor of New Times Magazine, and before that she was the legal affairs correspondent for the National Observer.

This year's presidential election will be the first in a half-century without the significant presence of federal observers at polling places. That's because in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and when the court wiped out that section, the statute that provided for election observers went, too.

The Supreme Court gets down to work on Tuesday, hearing the first arguments of a new term.

Technically, the court term began on the traditional first Monday in October, but because it fell on the same day as the Jewish New Year, the court's three Jewish justices were absent and the remaining justices conducted only administrative business.

A federal appeals court panel Monday blocked Indiana Gov. and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence's attempt to keep Syrian refugees out of Indiana.

The court upheld a lower court judge in barring Pence from interfering with the distribution of federal funds to resettle Syrian refugees in his state. The appeals court panel said that federal law bars discrimination based on nationality.

With the presidential election just five weeks away, all discussions about the U.S. Supreme Court focus on the unfilled vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the likelihood of more vacancies to come. Speculation about the most likely justice to retire centers on 83-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But in an interview with NPR, she didn't sound like a woman eager to retire.

It's been nearly eight months since Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly, leaving the nation's highest court short-handed, and evenly divided on some of the most important legal issues of the day.

While Democrats had expected to exploit GOP stonewalling on a replacement, Republicans have played the issue shrewdly.

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The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in a voting rights case from Ohio on Tuesday, leaving intact a reduction of early voting days that was enacted by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature.

The cutback still allows for 23 days in which voters can cast in-person ballots prior to Election Day, but it eliminates the so-called Golden Week in which voters can both register and cast ballots.

The Supreme Court on Friday temporarily invalidated Michigan's new ban on straight-ticket voting. The court let stand lower court rulings that blocked the ban from going into effect.

The straight-ticket option allows voters to cast their ballots for all candidates of one party with a single mark.

Last January, the Republican-controlled Legislature in Michigan voted to ban the straight-ticket option, which was first enacted 125 years ago and is popular particularly among black urban voters as well as in some heavily Republican areas.

A divided U.S. Supreme Court refused Wednesday to reinstate a set of voter restrictions enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature in the battleground state of North Carolina.

Last month a federal appeals court invalidated the restrictions, declaring that they were deliberately targeted at making it more difficult for African-Americans to vote.

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Rushing to establish the rules of the road for the upcoming national elections, federal courts in recent weeks have issued a cascade of decisions rolling back restrictive voting laws enacted in the aftermath of a major Supreme Court decision.

In 2013, the high court struck down a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. No longer would areas of the country with a history of discrimination in voting be required to pre-clear all changes in voting laws and procedures.

Most Americans will get their first real look at Tim Kaine when he speaks at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night. Of all the people Hillary Clinton considered as her vice presidential running mate, he has the most experience at all levels of government. But there is an irony in the Virginia senator's career.

In choosing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Donald Trump has reassured both establishment republicans and social conservatives — but he has also picked someone who in many ways is his polar opposite.

Pence addresses the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.

As a conservative talk show host in Indiana, Pence called himself "Rush Limbaugh on decaf."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

It was April 15, 2009, in the depths of the financial crisis. Elizabeth Warren was backstage at The Daily Show, about to make her national TV debut, but her head was not in the clouds.

It was in the toilet. She was throwing up.

"I had stage fright — gut-wrenching, stomach-turning, bile-filled stage fright," she would later write.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland finally got a hearing in Washington on Wednesday. Not from the U.S. Senate, but from the fifth grade graduating class at J.O. Wilson Elementary School, where Garland has tutored students for 18 years.

His testimony, as it were, was in the form of a commencement address, and he was almost as emotional as he was at the White House when he was nominated for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"You know, I like my job, but my favorite days are when I come to J.O. Wilson, and get high-fives walking down the hall," he began.

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down Puerto Rico's plan to restructure $20 billion in debt. The decision means it's now up to Congress to help the U.S. island territory out of its current financial crisis.

By a vote of 5-2, the court ruled that a local law enacted by Puerto Rico to restructure the debt of its financially strapped utilities violates the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

"Our constitutional structure does not permit this Court to rewrite the statute that Congress has enacted," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority.

The Supreme Court has ruled for the first time that judges must recuse themselves from reviewing cases in which they had a prior significant role.

By a vote of 5-3, the justices ruled that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied a defendant a fair hearing in a death penalty case because the chief justice refused to disqualify himself, even though he had been the district attorney overseeing the case decades earlier.

Until Donald Trump's comments about the ethnicity of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge overseeing the fraud case against Trump University in San Diego, Curiel was anything but a household name.

Then Trump began calling Curiel a "hater" who was being unfair to him because the judge is "Hispanic," because he is "Mexican" and because Trump is building a wall.

After days of controversy and strong criticism from fellow Republicans, Trump tried to amend his comments, which he's been making since February.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit